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What goes on at the troop meetings

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Is there an outline, agenda, or general expectation for what you should see happening at troop meetings?


I've been to a few so far. My son is newly in the troop. I've seen opening and closing ceremonies. They take attendance which includes a quick uniform inspection and collection of dues. There are announcements of upcoming dates rigth before the meeting ends. There have been some tasks and activities around the new scouts completing the Tenderfoot requirements. Most of the time is spent by the boys chit-chatting.


I'm holding my tounge until all the facts are in and giving everyone the benefit of the doubt but I kind of feel like "We worked really hard in Webelos -- to cross over and do this?"


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all troops are different...


ours it depends on the week


we always have game time before meeting, opening ceremony, announcements, awards, time for what I'll explain next, and then a closing


if it's the week right before a campout then most of the meeting is spent broken into patrols and planning their menu.


if it's any other week (and not a COH night) then the troop guides will work with the newer scouts on learning their skills... each meeting we have it set for check-up for a rank where if you're say a first class then you meet up with a designated leader and look through what they still need to accomplish and figure out how the troop can help - for example we say that we had a bunch of boys that were just missing the orienteering course so we set up a date for them to do that... if a boy is working on a merit badge with an adult and they want to meet up at that meeting then they do that... there is also time for Scout Master Confrences and Board of Reviews too... so there's a lot going on at once, and sometimes you will find a couple of boys that don't need any of those things and they'll hang out and chat - when I'm not tied up with one of my duties I'll usually push them along to assist one of the troop guides


then court of honor nights there really isn't any goofing off except for the pre-meeting game time and then after when they have cookies and a drink or the like.


like I said - troops are different... but none of them are like Cub Scouts. Cub scouts you had a DL that taught x,y,z... with Boy Scouts so much of the teaching is often done on campouts or in preparing for the campout. And with Boy Scouts it's really up to the boy to come up to a leader and say "Mr/Mrs X, I need some help in learning how to do A can you help me or get someone to teach me" and then when they learn it they come back to Mr/Mrs X and show off what they learned.

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Welcome to Boy Scouts and to the forum. Your son has crossed over to a different world. In cubs and webelos things were really organized but because the leadership was all done by grownups. Now what you see appears to be pretty disorganized by comparison. What you describe sounds like a pretty typical scout meeting in a boy led troop. When I was being trained as a scout leader the trainer said, "boy leadership is not a pretty sight". He was right and the first impulse may be to go looking for another troop or to dive in and help get the one your boy is in more organized. Both impulses should be resisted.


Oh sure, you can find troops that operate with military precision but I will bet if you look closely you will see that the troop is not boy led. Learning how to how to lead is part of the process. The boys in my troop resist the idea of meetings being too tightly programed. They try to do what they need to do to plan the next camp out. The work with the younger scouts on advancement. The look forward to a game of murder ball. Some times the meetings are pretty good and sometimes they are awful. The camp outs are usually pretty good but they are sometimes awful as well. The adults are there to make sure that what the scouts do is safe and legal but we also let them learn by their mistakes.


A lot of troops don't do as much in the meetings as you describe. Our troop does not do regular uniform inspections. Wish they did but it is the Patrol Leader's Council (PLC) to implement that.


My advice, is to follow your first instinct and hold your tongue, step back and let your son assimilate into the troop. If you go on a camp out, remember it is not your place to lead. The Senior Patrol Leader and the Patrol Leaders are the ones in charge.


Volunteer to become a leader if you want or be on the troop committee but get training ASAP so you will know the way in which the boy scout program is different from cubs and webelos. Some of the courses can be taken on line. Try not to be a helicopter parent. Not saying you are but it happens a lot. Give your son and the other scouts room to learn, room to grow and room to make mistakes.


Sit back and enjoy the ride.










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We go camping nearly every month, so several of our Troop meetings in a given month are focused on preparing for camping and then cleaning up from camping. During a meeting, we often do skill work, almost always do some advancement, and try to have one meeting a month for fun - games and skits. Specifics are discussed and planned at the monthly PLC.


After flags are set up and Scouts have been called to attention by the SPL, our meetings start with the Pledge and then either the Law or Oath (SPL choice), announcements, and then we move into the evening's activity.


Three weeks before a campout, we will focus on skills needed for the campout and related activities. Two weeks before a campout we develop menus and ensure chuck boxes are ready. One week before a campout Patrols assign tent partners, check tents, check all necessary equipment, and discuss campout activities. The week after the campout we clean up chuck boxes, make sure tents are dry and in good order, and discuss what went right and wrong on the campout and what we'd do differently next time. To attend a campout, Scouts must attend all these troop meetings.


As the meeting draws to an end, we award any rank advancement or merit badges earned that night, do another round of announcements, and end with either the Law or Oath (SPL choice). Flags are put away and the room cleaned up.


Meetings are usually very busy and allow little time for fooling around. Not that it doesn't happen, but usually most Scouts are just too busy. The ones who end up goofing off and engage in chit-chatting are those not going on the campout. These Scouts often need the focus of an adult leader so they don't end up being a distraction.

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Welcome to the virtual campfire!


Where is the SPL during all of this? Or do the Adult leaders run the meetings? Does the PLC meet on a weekly or monthly basis? Does the troop have a Annual calendar? Are you new to scouting? If you are, are you a leader and have you been to training? Have the other troop leaders been to training? Have the members of the PLC been trained?


Teaching, learning and practicing scout skills to work their way up the Eagle trail are acceptable meeting agenda items. Uniform Inspections, collecting dues and announcements are essential too. Are there any patrol competitions covering the material learned that evening? DO the scout mtgs have a game time? Do the meetings have a theme that will be emphasized on the monthly outing such as first aid?


If you are unsure of these questions ask the SM, he or she should be able to tell you. Ask the Scoutmaster if the troop has a copy of the Troop Program Resources guide and a copy of Troop Program Features. If they do, read through them. If not they can be ordered online or from your council office. These manuals have a wealth of information including monthly themes that have weekly mtg plans and the monthly outing planned as well. These plans can encourage the scouts to try new things or create their own plans. They cover all areas of what can be done for advancement using that theme from the new scout patrol to the older scouts and or a Venture patrol. Then encourage the PLC to try them out.


If you haven't already, volunteer to become a Merit Badge Counselor. This is a great way to participate in the troop. Offer to teach a skill at a mtg or on a campout. One of our mom's teaches blind youth life skills. I asked her to teach the Disabilities Awareness MB and the scouts ate it up. If hiking or backpacking are your forte offer to teach these MB's.


Lastly get involved, join the committee, help plan and run a fund raiser, sit in on a board of review. Scout Troops ar esupposed to be boy lead but each troop needs enthusiastic leaders who willingly help and set an example.





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This is the opportunity to step back,look sideways, and reach out and make what may prove to be life long friendships with other like-minded parents like yourself. You may find your self looking forward to the troop meetings too. Look for ways to reach out to the current parents that are holding various volunteer positions. They always could use an extra hand and would appreciate it.


The standard line I invoke on new parents to a Troop is, Kids with parents that take an active role tend to become outgoing active leaders/citizens/parents themselves. You are the role model, and will always be looked up to by your children as an example.


Congratulations on a job well done. Keep up the good work.


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You may also be seeing the fruits of an overburdened Scoutmaster.

Don't be afraid to ask if you can help as long as you realize your help may be accepted - oops. And please DO get Trained for whatever position you decide to take on.


If you do want success for your child in any troop you need to understand that while your involvement will be different, and not necessarily directly with your child, that it is every bit as necessary for his success.

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What a welcome! Thanks for all the responses and all the good information.


I've read about the importance of the troop being boy led. I forget who said it, I agree that there is a temptation to want to organize, but I know better. I have a lot of respect for the traditions and ways of scouting. If this is what works, I'll be happy with it. I do plan to be involved and help the SM. I had not really thought much about becoming a merit badge counselor, that sounds like a good way to help out.


Thanks to all.

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If the troop meetings look disorganized, that's not always bad.


But if they are completely aimless with boys standing around with nothing to do, then you might suggest to the SM that the PLC look into "Troop Program Features", a three volume set that provides complete troop meeting agendas and campout plans for 36 months using a different theme each month. These are the Boy Scout equivalent of the monthly "program helps" for Cub Scouts.


If your troop library is missing these volumes, you can ask the Troop Committee to invest in a set.


Good luck.

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One more thing: ask the Troop Librarian is he has a copy of "Fast Start Training" for SMs & ASMs (or maybe there is an adult volunteer on the Troop Committee or an ASM responsible for adult training who has the video / DVD).


The Fast Start video lays out the parts of a well-run troop meeting, and the most telling feature is that it shows the SM and adults saying almost nothing during the entire troop meeting. I used to show this video at our semi-annual Troop Leadership Training for the newly elected & appointed youth leaders, and asked them if their troop meetings look anything like those in the video. Invariably, the answer came back "NO!" When asked what was different, they all said the adults run everything in our troop (which of course the adults -- from the SM to Committee Chair on down -- all deny).


Also, find out when your district or council will be offering Scoutmaster Leader Specific Training. It goes into more detail about the role of the SM / ASM and the parts of a well-run troop meeting.

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Where is the SPL during all of this? He's in charge. He's a good leader. He leads the opening and closing, leads the attendance and uniform check. Instructs on the responsibilites and traditions of the troop.


Or do the Adult leaders run the meetings? Adult leaders step in with calendar reminders, and have been leading some of the tenderfoot requirement work I mentioned. But that's only a few minutes per meeting.


Does the PLC meet on a weekly or monthly basis? I have not yet heard of the PLC.


Does the troop have a Annual calendar? It's very high level, such as "March 18 - Troop Meeting".


Are you new to scouting? Was a den leader, new to Boy Scouting.


If you are, are you a leader and have you been to training? I am not a leader. I've got another boy in cubs and for now I'll make that my volunteer focus. For Boy Scouts, I'll be singing from the pew instead of from the choir if you know what I mean.


Have the other troop leaders been to training? Good question.


Have the members of the PLC been trained? Good question.

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